Fruit Tree Pruning Basics

| 1/9/2017 10:31:00 AM

Tags: fruit trees, pruning, Mary Lou Shaw, Ohio,

Many people feel that fruit tree pruning is too complex a task to be done by amateurs, but when we amateurs learn a few basic concepts, we can keep our fruit trees healthy, well-shaped and bearing excellent fruit. It’s simple: Learn the two basic pruning cuts, get equipped with good tools and keep in mind your long-term goals when pruning.

Purposes for Fruit Tree Pruning

Fruit trees grow whether we prune them or not, but a properly pruned fruit tree has a much better chance of avoiding diseases and giving bountiful and beautiful fruit. Pruning keeps fruit trees healthy by removing diseased limbs, crowded branches or branches that grow with narrow angles.

Pruning also maximizes the quality of fruit by controlling the number of fruit buds. This allows each fruit to reach maximum size without their weight breaking branches. Pruning dense outer branches allows fruit buds to avoid fungal diseases by providing them plenty of sunlight and breeze.

Finally, pruning is critical to maintain the size and shape fruit trees you want. A tree’s rootstalk largely determines each fruit tree’s potential size — whether it is a dwarf, semi-dwarf or standard tree. However, annual pruning is also crucial in determining a fruit tree’s ultimate size as well as its shape.

Basic Tree Shapes

The two basic shapes for fruit trees are either the central-leader or the open-center, also called a “vase-shaped” tree. The central-leader tree will create a smaller tree with less fruit, but easily allows sunlight to all branches. The open-center shape allows a tree to grow larger, but the upper canopy must be kept pruned to allow sunlight and air to reach the center.


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